The loose tooth. We all have a story about one, either from our own childhoods or as parents. Today, Elizabeth shares a very funny story about her daughter’s loose tooth…and the hoops she jumped through to try and get it out. Enjoy!
Being the mother of a seven-year-old who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of four means that things can be more than a little crazy around our house. It means that I have to be flexible, I have to think outside of the box and sometimes I have to be downright sneaky in order to get things done. And I have to have a sense of humor because if I don’t, parenting this child just might kill me. Or send me to the looney bin, which frankly, sounds extremely relaxing on most days.
My daughter Lauren was five when she lost her first two baby teeth. She had loosened them prematurely when she accidentally slammed her face into the edge of a slide when she was trying to climb up it. Lauren, unlike many children with their first loose teeth, was not excited about the wiggling. She freaked out. She was grossed out. She was petrified. Instead of wiggling them to help them come out faster, she wouldn’t touch them and she wouldn’t let me touch them. This included brushing them.
There the two little teeth sat for months, slowly turning grey despite my attempts to get a swipe at them with the toothbrush every night and getting progressively looser and looser but never falling out. When she went to the dentist to get a cavity filled (which may or may not have been related to the fact that she had a temper tantrum anytime we tried to stick a tooth brush in her mouth near the loose teeth) I asked the dentist to go ahead and pull them out. He did. But this is not the end of the story.
Several months later, one of Lauren’s top teeth started to wiggle. Again she was scared to the point of panic. I didn’t think I could handle another two months of minimal teeth-brushing and hand-wringing angst about a silly tooth. So I began to hatch a plan. And as soon as the tooth was loose enough, I set my plan into action.
Finally the little tooth, also quite grey at this point, was wiggly enough that I felt it would come out with a quick twist and a slight pull. So I washed my hands and snuck into Lauren’s room in the middle of the night. There she was sleeping peacefully and with her mouth open just enough so that I could see my prey.
I took a few minutes to study the tooth, the angle of her open mouth and the best way to get the tooth in a pincer grip between my thumb and pointer before I gave a swift yank. I felt like a professional golfer, sizing up the path to the hole…taking everything from the slight breeze to the curve of her chin into account. I knew I’d have one shot and one shot only.
Leaning forward, hardly daring to breathe, I moved in for the kill. My hand was as steady as a surgeon’s as my pointer entered her mouth. But at that very moment, she closed her mouth and rolled over. Panicking, I jammed my finger blindly hoping to make contact. Lauren’s eyes popped open and we stared at each other. I was still sitting there with my finger extended guiltily in front of me looking as surprised as she did. And then she started to scream.
When her mouth opened wide for that initial breath before the earsplitting wail, I saw that the tooth was still in her mouth, but completely on its side. It had been so loose, there wasn’t even any blood. But this didn’t matter to Lauren. She jumped out of bed and ran down the hall, screaming at the top of her lungs and flapping her hands. And keep in mind it was eleven at night and her two younger siblings were asleep.
“Lauren,” I hissed, “your tooth is out. It’s OUT. You just need to take it out.” But in her wide-eyed state of shock, she kept on running back and forth down the hall, screaming and waving her hands.
Finally she calmed down when she realized that she was not actually in pain. She gingerly stuck her own finger in her mouth to assess the situation and the tooth fell gently into the palm of her hand. She stared at it in wonder and looked at me. The hole where the tooth had been already looked like it was beginning to heal. I have no idea how this tooth hadn’t fallen out on its own, just due to gravity.
Once the drama was over and Lauren was back in bed, I convinced her that the Tooth Fairy had likely had a very busy night and might be asleep before she got to our house.
She decided to leave the little tooth on her dresser and wait until the next night to put it under her pillow. And I crept off to bed, having accomplished my covert mission: The tooth was out with minimal damage and no blood, unless of course I had emotionally scarred her for life.
For a few months there was no mention of the midnight-tooth-pulling-incident and I hoped that she had forgotten since she had been asleep for most of it. I hoped that she only remembered that it had fallen out during the middle of the night–and not that it had been (ahem) helped. But eventually, the subject came up on its own when a friend with a loose tooth was over to play. “My mom pulled my tooth out in the middle of the night, didn’t you Mommy?” I was caught and the incident was not,as I had hoped, forgotten. But rather than being a sneaky-tooth-pulling-mommy and a liar, I said “I sure did!” in an overly cheery voice that said implied “Don’t all mommies do that?”
Elizabeth McKenzie is a mother, a blogger and a housewife-extraordinaire living in Boulder, Colorado with her three children, one husband, two cats and a very elderly dog.Ok, she’s actually a stay-at-home who likes to compare doing housework and laundry to walking up a down-escalator with a toddler in one arm and two bickering
daughters clinging to her legs and trying to scratch each other’s eyes out.